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Crowdsourcing my identity: an art experiment

by Alex in | | | |

The phenomenon of Pecha Kucha — presentations in which a speaker addresses 20 slides for 20 seconds each — has overtaken unconferences and WhateverCamps as the hottest format for professional gatherings. So I was interested to see a Pecha Kucha veteran tackle the format in an entirely novel way during Emily Carr’s recent MAA student presentations.

Elisa Yon, who organized Victoria’s Pecha Kucha night, is now in her first year of the MAA program at Emily Carr. Elisa is an architect who won an architectural design competition that led to her representing Scotland at the 2008 Venice Biennale, so she had no shortage of professional accomplishments to share with her fellow students and faculty. But in her getting-to-know-me Pecha Kucha presentation, she began not with the usual approach of showing slides of her work, but instead shared slides that others had sent her. Elisa asked some important people in her life to send her images that said something about her, and in speaking to those slides, Elisa spoke volumes about her work, character and key relationships.

Based on that experience, Elisa is now experimenting with Pecha Kucha as a way of curating self-portraits using contributed images. She’s asked for my help, and I have agreed to solicit 20 images from different people who know me — some well, some not so well– in order to build a collective picture. It’s kind of like a 360 evaluation based on creative feedback rather than analytic feedback.

Ironically, I began by asking people I know from my offline life, though I used e-mail to contact them. And then it struck me: if I’m serious about the claim that my online life is my real life, shouldn’t I ask for input from people in my online world? After all, the perspectives and perceptions of people who know me online are at least as accurate in reflecting who I am — given how much time I spend online, they may even be more accurate.

So, online friends and colleagues, I’m asking you to bring it on. Between now and November 24, I’m hoping you will contribute images via comment (just leave a link to your picture in a comment on this blog), Twitter, Flickr or Facebook…or whatever format works for you. I’m a little afraid of what I’ll get, and ready for accusations of narcissism, but hey, narcissism is a core part of social media culture so I’ve decided to embrace it.

Here are Elisa’s guidelines for contributors:

  • Please send an image (photo, drawing, cartoon, whatever) that you think says something about me.
  • If you prefer, the image could be a fragment of text (poem, quote, etc.).
  • It shouldn’t be a photo of me, and it’s ok if you use an image you find online using something like Google search.
  • You are welcome to explain your choice of image, but it’s not required; however it will help me speak to your picture in my presentation.

I will share the results online in some form, most likely Slideshare. Thanks in advance for your help!

And if you’d like to try curating your own Pecha Kucha self-portrait, you can contact Elisa by email as eyon [at] ecuad [dot] ca or on Twitter as @elisayon.

First posted on November 18,2010

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